Page:A handbook of the Cornish language; Chiefly in its latest stages with some account of its history and literature.djvu/208

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189
PROSODY

The latter part has lines of four beats, with a very variable number of unaccented syllables, which in reading were probably hurried over rather vaguely. This rhythm may be compared with the "new principle" (as the author calls it in his preface) of Coleridge's Christabel.[1]

Boson's triplets are mostly of ten-syllabled lines, Lhuyd's are generally of eight syllables, but sometimes of nine or even ten and eleven.

Tonkin of St. Just, a tailor, wrote two songs, which are in the Gwavas MS. They are in four-lined stanzas generally of seven-syllabled lines, though as often as not having an extra light syllable to begin with.

Thus:—

Pa wrîg ev gŏrra trôz war tîr When he [i.e. William of Orange] did put foot on land
Ev vê welcombes me ôr gwir. He was welcomed I know well.
Ha devethes dhô Caresk And having come [came] to Exeter
Maga saw besca vê pesk?[2] As safe as ever was fish.

The epigrams printed by Pryce and Davies Gilbert were mostly composed by Boson and Gwavas. Eightsyllabled lines are frequent among them, but they are of little or no value, and are altogether on English models, and not very good models at that. Should any one wish to attempt verse-writing in Cornish, it would be best either to use one of the seven

  1. " I have only to add that the metre of Chrisfabel is not properly speaking irregular, though it may seem so through its being founded on a new principle, namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables." (Preface to 1816 edition of Christabel.)"
  2. 2 Spelling adapted to that of this grammar.